The ICI Group, comprised of National Starch, Performance Specialties, Quest and ICI Paints, realeased its annual report for 2001. For the full year, total group sales growth rose two percent. Performance in Asia was excellent, with 11% sales growth and trading profit well ahead over the prior year, according to the company. Trading profit for paints rose one percent on the prior year.
In Europe, paint sales rose one percent, with growth in the UK, France and Ireland offsetting lower sales in Germany. Trading profits were also ahead for the full year as a result of both the growth in sales and the benefits of successful restructuring in France, according to the company.
In North America, the paint business delivered sales growth of five percent for the year, with the U.S. consumer business doing well, and sales from U.S. stores returning to modest levels of growth towards the end of the year. According to the company, business was significantly impacted in the short-term by events of Sept. 11 but recovered early in the fourth quarter. Profits for the year were ahead of 2000.
Sales growth in Asia of 11% was achieved for paint products despite slowing economic growth in the region. There were strong performances in China, India and Thailand, the company said.
In Latin America paint sales declined 18% for the year and profit was also down. The major influence on sales, according to the company, was the significant devaluation of the Real in Brazil, which continued to impact results throughout the year, particularly by inflating imported raw material costs. In the second half, the deteriorating economic situation in Argentina depressed the paint market, reducing sales and causing a significant reduction in profits for the year overall.
National Starch’s adhesives and sealants division reported sales growth of three percent for the year